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The National Labor Relations Board Jan. 22 formally withdrew its modified ambush elections rule which would have reduced the amount of time between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place to as few as 17 days. 

The ABC-led Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed a legal challenge in February 2012 against the ambush rule on the grounds that it was adopted without the statutorily required quorum of NLRB members. In May 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed and overturned the rule.  Although the NLRB appealed the ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit issued an order of abeyance on the appeal, which temporarily suspended consideration of the appeal until a related case, addressing the president’s recess appointments case to the NLRB, was heard. In December, the board dropped its appeal entirely.  

Despite its decision to drop the current version of the rule, the now fully-staffed board is expected to reissue an even broader rule, reflecting a proposal first published in June 2011, that would slash election timeframes to as few as 10 days. Board member Kent Hirozawa has stated publicly “that the NLRB continues to consider changes to its regulations on representation case procedures” and the rule remains the sole item on the board’s regulatory agenda.

 “Unfortunately, we believe this victory will be temporary,” said Burr. “The President has consistently sought to appoint nominees to the Labor Board who seem bent on achieving an agenda loved by union bosses but disliked by voters, legislators, and employees at millions of workplaces.”

The ambush elections proposal, if finalized, would also work hand in glove with the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed persuader rule, which would deprive employees of their right to obtain balanced and informed input from both sides as they decide whether to be represented by a union. A final persuader rule is listed on DOL’s 2014 regulatory agenda for March.